This is such a fun time of year. You're traveling all over the country to celebrate the holidays with friends and family.
You're enjoying the comforting smells of Thanksgiving turkey in the oven and crackling logs in the fireplace. You're laughing with old friends and watching in wonder as your children and grandkids open gifts for Christmas or Hanukkah.
It's a special time of year that you patiently wait for all yearlong. Unfortunately, hackers know that.
These online criminals know that you let your guard down during the holidays. They know that the last thing you want to think about at this joyful time is hackers remotely stealing your ID and payment credentials.
We have valuable information for you to protect your privacy, your ID, payment card information, your home address and phone number with a virtual private network (VPN).
Don't worry! We have step-by-step instructions that are so straightforward that you'll have a VPN protecting your entire family's digital devices before you hit the road for the holidays.
Free VPNs and paid services
The first thing you need to do to set up a VPN is sign up for a service. There are free options and some that cost a few dollars a month and others that can be quite costly, if you're setting one up for your business.
If you're like most home users, you'll be fine signing up for a FREE trial on F-Secure Freedome VPN. You should know that most free VPNs have a data limit, like 500MB per month.
What is a VPN?
If you're traveling to relatives' and friends' homes for the holidays, make sure they have a VPN set up. Make sure you have a VPN at home, too - the last thing you want is your family being hacked while visiting you for Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Eve.
But what can you do about it? You've already installed an anti-virus software program on your laptops and smartphones.
You've changed your Wi-Fi router's password and you use anonymous web browsers like DuckDuckGo when you're at a coffee shop. That way, hackers can't see what you're doing online or where you are physically located.
Still, there is one more step you can take to ensure that your privacy is protected and that hackers aren't going to ruin your holidays.
You can set up your own Virtual Private Network. A VPN encrypts your data and masks your physical location so that hackers cannot see what you're doing.
You may already use a VPN when you're at work. Your IT team set that up, and it probably seemed like a major undertaking.
It's true that it takes little bit of time and effort to set up a VPN at home. But don't worry - keep reading for step-by-step instructions if you're using a Windows 10 laptop or a Mac.
Setting up a VPN on Windows 10
It's pretty easy to set up a virtual private network with Windows 10. However, be sure to follow each step.
You start by clicking on the start button (window icon at the bottom of your screen on the left). Go to Settings then choose Network & Internet, then select VPN from the menu on the left.
Click on Add a VPN Connection. Click on the down arrow button where it says VPN Provider and select the only option, which is Windows (built in) and then type in whichever Connection Name you want.
Type in the Server Name or Address that your VPN has given you. Then select a VPN type like Point to Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP) or select Automatic to let Windows 10 choose it for you.
Choose User Name and Password under Type of Sign-In Info, unless your VPN provider instructs you to choose a different option. Type in a user name and password that you'll remember, then select Save.
Setting up a VPN on a Mac
Your VPN provider will give you a certificate with instructions where to download it. It will be saved to your Downloads on a Mac.
Then, click on your Downloads folder. You'll be prompted to Add Certificates.
Select Add and put your certificate into the Keychain Access. Then right-click on your VPN provider and select Get Info.
Click on the drop-down menu next to When Using this Certificate and choose Always Trust. Go to System Preferences and choose Network.
Click on the plus sign to add a VPN and choose the type of VPN connection you want to use. Type in the Server Address and Remote ID that your VPN gives you.
Select Authentication Settings and choose a username. Follow the prompts until you see the VPN in your menu.
Now you’re all set up and protected for when family and friends come over this Christmas season.
What is a VPN and why do I need one?
You've heard the horror stories. Hackers are remotely accessing your laptop and smartphones to steal your ID, money and demand ransom payments.
But what can you do about it? You've heard Kim Komando urge you to use a virtual private network.